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UK energy prices unaffordable by 2015

That is the conclusion of price comparison website

According to the research, household energy bills have more than doubled in the last eight years. If this trend continues, says the average annual bill is set to break the £1,500 barrier by 2015 and will continue upwards to hit £2,766 a year by 2018.

An annual energy bill of £1,500 is the tipping point at which energy bills will become unaffordable in the UK, says the research. When this point is reached, 77% will be forced to ration their energy use, 59% will go without adequate heating and 36% will be forced to turn their heating off entirely.

I wouldn't like to be a politician when that happens.

(H/T Haunting the Library)

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Reader Comments (50)

Some of us have been repeating the "heat or eat" mantra for years.
I will be interested to see what lies the government chooses to present in their attempt to refute this argument.

May 31, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Surely this cannot be right?

Only a few months ago, I distinctly remember hearing that jolly nice fellow Mr Huhne assuring us that although energy prices were going to increase, government policy would ensure that household bills would decrease.

Oh dear!

May 31, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

The government has a plan to install smart meters in every home in the UK. Now we could all believe that they want to make the collection of energyr usage efficient and instant and give the customer total control of their own energy usage. Or, it could be so the government can turn off the power supplies of those deemed to be using too much energy. This is what it's like being ruled by the Greens and they clearly have plans to go a lot further.

May 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

There won't be much industry left to generate the income to pay the bills. It looks like we'll be a third world country by then.

May 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I'm afraid they'll just use the ‘beneficial crisis’ to push even harder for green energy. The argument will be something along the lines of, “look at the evil fossil fuel lobby. If only we could have renewables everything would be much cheaper. Honest."

May 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

'I wouldn't like to be a politician when that happens.'

I wouldn't like to be a politician, full stop!

May 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Whaddya mean rationing our energy use when we reach the tipping point in 2015? I've already reached that point and am thankful that my woodshed is full to bursting point as the heating will be heavily rationed this winter. Living in the country, we have oil fired heating (no mains gas) and gas cylinders for cooking. We could have electric cooking but such are the vagaries of our supply that I prefer to at least have something to boil some water with so that I can retreat to bed with a hot water bottle. One of the best things about an iPad or Kindle is that (provided it is charged up) you can still read during a power cut. I'm also letting any ash seedlings grow on with a view to chopping them down in a few years - ash is a great wood for burning.
I feel as though I am fast becoming one of the rural poor. I can't afford to buy a new car which does more mpg than my trusty old diesel volvo which must have at least another 250,000 miles in it but it hurts every time I fill it up at £98 a tankfull.

May 31, 2012 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterbiddyb

'I wouldn't like to be a politician when that happens.'

Oh I don't know. I think we can be confident that whatever happens to the rest of us the politicians will make sure they're OK.

May 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

But we must make sure that they are not OK!

May 31, 2012 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

But we must make sure that they are not OK!

So far we have Milipede, Huhne and Davey to blame, there will be more who are responsible prior to Milipede but be the time the brown stuff hits the fan they will be on to greener pastures.

Note how the are planning to increase VED on cars not taking into account all the extra tax taken on Petrol with the regular hike in fuel duty and no mention of the Flight taxes, all meant to be in support of lower emissions.

Our fault as we voted for them.

May 31, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

"But we must make sure that they are not OK!"

But you don't know how to do that.

May 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

Perhaps someone ought to start calculating and publishing the BTU content of green-leaning political and academic luminaries, just in case push really does come to shove...

May 31, 2012 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

"UK energy prices unaffordable by 2015"

It depends upon whether or not your father-in-law has a wind farm on his land.

May 31, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public


Be very very careful where you say something like that. The ANU might be listening.

May 31, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

This is exactly what the government wants...but remember, these are the same clowns that were telling us our power bills will be exactly the same a in a few years time. It wasnt until you looked at the fine print that the only reason the clowns could claim we wont be paying more is because we will be forced to use 50% LESS energy!

As the great Dr North says...Ill not shed a tear for the politicians who put us in this position when their 'eds are lopped off by the impoverished poor!


May 31, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

£1,500 barrier by 2015

What I would do to have energy bills as low as that. Like biddyb rural so no gas.

£1300 on electricity.
£600 Kerosene for central heating boiler & hot water (though it is very rarely on nowadays)
£1000-2000 for 5-6 tonnes of hardwood & peat for the wood stove which we now use to heat the house.

Attic is insulated. Walls have cavity insulation. Windows are all double-gaazed. We don't try to heat the crappy conservatory. I have not long spent at least £3000 on ripping up and replacing floors in all but one room in the house to to put 75mm celotex down, but the kids rooms are still cold from November through to May.

Have to have a fairly thirsty old 4WD because winter snows mean we can't get a 2 wheel drive out of the garage onto the main road. 2015 is here already. Fortunately I can pay the bills, but many can't. Third world' conditions in Tayside linked to 'heating or eating' quandary

May 31, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Smart meters are all about control and retribution... just watch.

May 31, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomRude

But we must make sure that they are not OK!
But you don't know how to do that.
May 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner
I made the point in a different forum a while ago that, cliché though it may be, the country gets the government it deserves. The only cure is actually to join the party of your choice, work to make sure that your views are the ones that the local councillors and your candidate get to hear and elect people who will carry out the wishes of those who voted for them.
As a simple example, are the majority of people in the UK (this seems to be mainly England at the moment, as far as I can tell) in favour of their council demanding that they sort their rubbish into anything up to nine different bins and get fined up to £130 (I believe the government is planning to reduce that) for not shutting the lid of the bin properly or putting it out an hour early or the wrong way round ... or any other reason why? If the answer to that question is 'no', then how come they are being allowed to get away with it?
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
The same principle applies. If we all behave like sheep then it is hardly surprising that we are treated like sheep. Both Labour and Conservative need to re-connect with their core vote whatever excuses may be put forward for chasing after the lowest common denominator. Both parties are being run by amateurs with no experience of how anybody in the real world actually lives and that is solely because we collectively have allowed it to happen.
Meanwhile as this report makes clear, the British public is at the mercy of big government and big business, excessive regulation (much of it EU-initiated but GB gold-plated) which big business loves because it keeps small businesses out of the market and a political system in which civil servants have even more power than Sir Humphrey because politicians haven't either the nous or the knowledge or the guts to stand up to them.

May 31, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


I live in a rural area and the price of firewood (logs) has gone up by 50% in the last year. I blame the governmen'st energy policy encouraging businesses to burn biofuel (wood). What’s more the local woodlands are being decimated. It seem when ever you try to use something less expensive they go ahead and make it more costly. They know full well the MGW is a scam but they use it as a vehicle to increase tax revenue. What really gall’s me is the subsidies for useless wind turbines which ruin our lovely countryside to not benefit.

May 31, 2012 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

If you set up very powerful flood lights above solar panels, then you can run them 24/7; problem solved.
Soon to be Labour Party policy.

May 31, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocMartyn

[ sorry - wrong thread ]

May 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

For that 36% that will be forced to turn their heating off entirely....

They'll be burning newspapers, coal, peat, wood palette scraps and whatever they can get their hands on to try to keep from freezing.

So much for the clean air gains. Something similar is about to happens in California, and I'm making plans for the future to keep ahead of these putzes and their energy legislation.

May 31, 2012 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

> They'll be burning newspapers, coal, peat, wood palette..

For the past 30 years (or more), nearly all residential property built in the UK can only be heated with gas, electricity or oil. They do not construct any new buildings with a chimney which effectively means they can not use newspapers, coal, peat etc for fuel.

May 31, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

my first wife died of the cold in the UK twelve years ago. I dont look for sympathy or blame, but I do want to say one thing, an obvious thing.
A bloody ovbious thing
It can happen, it does happen, and if we are not alert, it will happen more often

May 31, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Sorry Folks, you're missing the major point. As long as we meet EU and IPCC targets for reducing CO2 emissions, our politicians and senior civil servants couldn't give a flying f**k how many people die from fuel poverty or how many businesses go to the wall so long as they can go to the next jamboree and pick up lots of plaudits and gongs for the good job they are doing.

May 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

The coaition have U turned on Pasties Caravans Churches and Charity Taxes
So why not U turn on Windfarms
Save eveyone £800 on their Electricity Bills and they then spend it in the shops and generate growth in the UK economy ,
Gets us out of Reccession Mr Osborne

May 31, 2012 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Ross Lea - interestingly, we were collared by our local woodsman trying to flog us logs (at hugely increased price, as you say). We were fortunate in having cut down a few trees and lopped some major branches off a tree overhanging the road, that we have filled the woodshed without needing to buy any and I have earmarked a couple to fell next year to use in two or three years time, but he was saying that business was bad. I can't understand why, unless people are foraging for wood themselves, and I do keep my beady eye open for branches I can stick in the car.

As lapogus says, our fuel costs are already above £1500, probably nearer £2500 - 3000, but we are lucky enough to afford it. What worries me are the poorer people in the village who buy bags of coal from the coalman every week in winter when they are held to ransom with winter prices because they can't afford to bulk buy in the summer when prices are lower.

Heating oil thefts are a problem round here. We don't lock our plastic oil tank because the thieves just punch a hole in the bottom of the tank if it is locked and then you not only have to replace the oil at vast expense, but also the bloody tank and clean up any contaminated ground.

May 31, 2012 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBiddyb

How many politicians can you cram into a tumbril?

May 31, 2012 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

“I wouldn't like to be a politician when that happens.”

Nay problem to them Bish, they are 100% insulated from reality. They also have a unique European grant system that ensures an ever increasing level of insulation.

We need to strip back the insulation and in that task we may have some allies in Greece, Spain, Italy etc...

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:12 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

It is all part of the Bilberberg agenda. Force the masses to consume less resources (through the guise of climate change) to guarantee there will be sufficient resources for the elite to live in their lavish lifestyles for many years into the future.

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterdrcrinum

You can sheet it all home to the GREEN ANTIHUMAN BOONDOGGLE....the CARBON CON.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurice@TheMount

Don't worry, Global Warming (TM) is going to save your sorry (cold) asses.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAntonyIndia

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Unfortunately, this article is just the sort of journalistic hype of a bit of research that has been the subject of so much disapprobation in this blog. A glance at the underlying figures at the foot of the uSwitch research article shows that there is no tipping point – rather a steadily growing palsy. As others have remarked most of us already practice some form of control over use of central heating and do not cook ourselves when the rich would. As energy prices rise, the control points in various households will drop and an increasing number of people will be forced into woolies and immobility with cold hands and feet. So the government will be spared the tipping point that would result in riots on the streets. Unfortunate indeed.

If it is true that the government have escaped the consequences of past foolishneeses by U turns but is now restrained by EU rules, is it not time that a policy of selective disobedience be adopted? I do not understand what the EU could do by way of retribution that could not be offset. And there would be votes in such moves.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Electricity prices are governed by the prime sorces of energy gas/coal etc. The plot of fuel statisics her shows that electricity has risen less proportionally than gas or coal (from 1987 to present)
There is no green esculation it is simply following the prime energy costs.

Nuclear may have a static cost (cannot find the data) it will be interesting to see who pays for decommissioning. See my post here about age of reactors:
About 70 will need decommissioning in the next 6 years (worldwide)

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterthefordprefect

My domestic energy bills are half the national average and I live very comfortably.
What am I doing right and everbody else wrong?

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCrowcatcher's the roost...

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

[...] When this point is reached, 77% will be forced to ration their energy use, 59% will go without adequate heating and 36% will be forced to turn their heating off entirely.[...]

Which of course is the whole point. Efficiency savings can only go a small way toward reducing consumption. To meet already insane targets, the rest will have to come from rationing.

The problem with rationing is that heat and light are not optional at this latitude. It is a death sentence.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

It's like if A Modest Proposal had been updated to the XXI century, and overpopulation on the way of being solved by freezing off pension-collecting old people!!

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Most of you are missing the point.
It is Government policy to make fuel unaffordable to most.
This has a number of desirable outcomes;
1) Energy use will fall
2) OAPs will die of hypothermia, thus reducing pension liabilities
3) Government ministers are seen by the all-powerful EU of meeting our CO2 reduction targets
and thereby guaranteed cushy jobs as EU Commissars when they get voted out.

What is there not to like?

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

While not as directly painful, 2/3rds of electricity is used outwith the home. All of that feeds through to higher prices on everything. It also means that any iondustery that uses power will either have to move abroad or face bankruptcy, being uinable to compete with industries that don't depend on windmills.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Porritt who in the 1990s was busily indoctrinating people like Davey, has reportedly advocated cutting the UK population to 30 million.

Create the fake CAGW scare, insist windmills are the only option, pass the CCA 2008 [Worthington and Cameron effectively did this] then get idiots like Prescott, Miliband and Huhne to do the legwork.

Eugenics in action folks with those who have invested in renewables and carbon trading to get rich.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

With luck Huhne will soon be staying at Her Majesty's pleasure. Davey is no better. As a secretary of state in an office that relies on at least some knowledge of science and technology his degree was in politics, philosophy and economics. Hardly a good grounding for his present job. But then ignorance is bliss.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

What appears to be happening at DECC is an outbreak of common sense. A month or so ago, MacKay, who was clearly taken in by the IPCC science, wrote warning that for the windmills to save any CO2 at all, we'd need massive pump storage. Someone has had a word with him!

I think this was a cold shower designed to wake up the Greens in DECC to the awful prospect that to achieve their dream of the windmills they're going to have to build four power systems, nuclear base load, fossil standby, the windmills, pump storage.

Given a choice between flooding the Lake District to get more than 10% wind power whilst upsetting every environmentalist, and keeping present nuclear and building more, Davey apparently took the lesser of two evils!

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

Just a couple of gems from our beloved Department of Energy and (as though it was connected in some way) Climate Change...
I quote verbatim from their missive to me. I suggest you don't read the following having just taken a large gulp of coffee...
'Wind is free and an unlimited source of fuel...'
'Wind could provide around 15% of our 2020 requirements for energy...'
With that sort of logic driving the government's official energy policy, is there any reason for us to worry about anything at all..??

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Just an observation, but perhaps the £1,500 a year fuel bill is significant. It seems to have already been reached by several (most?) here and appears to have had an impact on their political/environmental/climate position already.

Personally I spend about that just on roof and window repairs each year. The pleasures of Grade II listed living.

Jun 1, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:50 AM Crowcatcher

My domestic energy bills are half the national average and I live very comfortably.
What am I doing right and everbody else wrong?

Dunno without more info. What do you think it's due to?

Do you live on your own?

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Compare and contrast this article with:-

And you wonder why I get angry with the incompetents, fantasists, rent seekers and greenie activists that infest the Department of Energy & Climate Change? Not to mention Miliband, Huhne and Davey, the nincompoops who have been Secretary of State in DECC and Brown, Cameron & Clegg who have put them there and encouraged them.

These are the new Aristocrats of gargantuan ineptitude.

What we need are some latter day Sans Culottes:-

Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates à la lanterne! aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates on les pendra! the aristocrats, we'll hang them!
Si on n’ les pend pas If we don't hang them
On les rompra We'll break them
Si on n’ les rompt pas If we don't break them
On les brûlera. We'll burn them
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates à la lanterne! aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates on les pendra! the aristocrats, we'll hang them!
Nous n’avions plus ni nobles, ni prêtres,
We have no more nobles nor priests
Ah ! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira, Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
L’égalité partout régnera. Equality will reign everywhere
L’esclave autrichien le suivra, The Austrian slave shall follow him
Ah ! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira, Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
Et leur infernale clique And their infernal clique
Au diable s’envolera. Shall go to hell
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates à la lanterne! aristocrats to the lamp-post
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
les aristocrates on les pendra! the aristocrats, we'll hang them!
Et quand on les aura tous pendus And when we'll have hung them all
On leur fichera la pelle au cul We'll stick a shovel up their arse

Quite obviously this shouldn't be construed as a call for any kind of unpleasantness.


Jun 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

What am I doing right and everbody else wrong?

Dunno without more info. What do you think it's due to?

Do you live on your own?

No reply.

Jun 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Quite obviously this shouldn't be construed as a call for any kind of unpleasantness.

Jun 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Martin Brumby

I counted eight unmistakeable death threats there Martin - each one far exceeding the most serious category guidelines - established by experts in such matters at the Australian National University.

Expect at least three articles by Hickman in tomorrow's Graun.

Jun 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

"Smart meter" =

Step away from that kettle immediately! Put down the hair dryer! You will be informed when resumed energy useage becomes appropriate.

Jun 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

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